“That is old news, Lord Nathan and we are not talking about it again.” A thought crossed her mind. How, in such a crush of people, had he witnessed her slip away? “Were you spying on me?” she asked, her eyes narrowing.
“Not spying, merely interested when I noticed you leave shortly after the Marquis exited the room.”
“Where I go and what I do is none of your business. You are not my keeper.”
He pressed closer and her breath almost stuttered to a complete stop. Idly, he lifted his hand and curled the hair that spilled over her shoulder around his finger.
“Maybe I should be appointed as your keeper. You could use some direction in life.”
“And you have a wealth of experience in advising decent young woman?”
He cupped her chin with long, lean fingers and swept his thumb across her lower lip. Unbidden warmth spread beneath her skin as she recalled the last time they’d crossed respectable boundaries. She turned her head, her eyelids fluttering down.
That one movement was her undoing. With eyes tightly closed, her other senses took over. His utterly male fragrance danced beneath her nose. Crisp and clean with a hint of shaving cream and sandalwood. No man had ever stood so close, his very nearness created a shocking intimacy and her heart thrummed in anticipation of his next advance.
“I have a wealth of experience in ways you couldn’t begin to fathom. I was a Rake, Miss Bingley, a man who thought nothing of seducing little girls like you.” The heat of his breath brushed the shell of her ear and his fingers continued to toy with her lock of hair. “I would sweep them into my arms and kiss them until nothing existed except me.”
Without thought she turned her head back toward him and their lips inadvertently touched for one searing second. He recoiled as though burned and stepped back to a respectable distance. Instantly she missed the heat of his body and fought a strange desire to boldly follow his retreat, to press her body against his.
“Please forgive me. My actions are unconscionable,” he forced through stiff lips.
Anger and pride fought for purchase of her feelings. As he turned to leave the room, anger won the day and she called out to him in her most haughty voice.
“Who are you to say these things to me?”
Slowly he faced her, his grey eyes turning the color of frosty steel.
“My actions once again contradict my character. You may choose not to believe what I say, but I am a man who prays you find your path to happiness and contentment.” He turned to walk away and then, as if he’d had another thought, turned around. “Take care who you entice with your beauty and wealth. The next man to find you alone in a hallway may take more from you than one kiss.”
He executed a tight bow and exited. It wasn’t until after he left the room that she realized she still held her fingers against her lips because they felt as though they’d been branded.*Sigh* I loved that scene. CAROLINE is available on all digital retailers. Please click the Regency tab across the top for access to purchase links.